Court Rules It’s Illegal for Trump to Block You on Twitter

President Donald Trump Twitter account
Photo: Jenny Kane/AP

Sorry, Donald Drumpf! Looks like the Orange Cheeto President’s Twitter fingers got a little too spicy for the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit 😂😂😂!!!

The appellate court ruled on Tuesday that Trump has violated the Constitution by blocking people on Twitter, namely notorious reply-guy #Resistance libs and all of these people.

According to the three-judge panel, Trump can’t block some Americans from his Twitter feed because he uses the social media profile to “conduct government business,” the New York Times reported. In blocking someone expressing disagreement with or criticism of the president, the court argued, Trump violates the First Amendment, preventing an “otherwise open online dialogue.”

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“In resolving this appeal, we remind the litigants and the public that if the First Amendment means anything, it means that the best response to disfavored speech on matters of public concern is more speech, not less,” Judge Barrington D. Parker wrote in the panel’s ruling.

While this court decision ruled on the blocking of people from public Twitter accounts used for government business and interacting with the public, the court maintained that the ruling had no bearing on whether it’s unconstitutional for public officials to block people from their private accounts, nor whether social media corporations must uphold the First Amendment when policing their platforms.

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Trump’s lawyers, meanwhile, argued that because he runs his account in a “personal” capacity, he’s allowed to block whoever he wants. On a related note, remember that time Trump tried to end the service of transgender people in the military via tweet?

“We do conclude, however, that the First Amendment does not permit a public official who utilizes a social media account for all manner of official purposes to exclude persons from an otherwise‐open online dialogue because they expressed views with which the official disagrees,” Parker wrote.

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The panel’s ruling upheld a May 2018 decision from a Federal District Court judge who also found Trump’s practice unconstitutional. At the time, the White House unblocked accounts of the plaintiffs involved in the case, including Rebecca Buckwalter, a fellow at the liberal Center for American Progress; writer Holly Figueroa; and Twitter personality Nick Pappas.

Twitter hasn’t done much to hold Trump accountable for the other kinds of hateful, unpresidential behavior he exhibits on his account. Last month, the company announced it would be labeling tweets from the president that violate their terms of service, such as their anti-harassment policy, with a disclosure that while they think such tweets are ~bad~, they’re being left up out of the public’s interest. Great job, Twitter.

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About the author

Samantha Grasso

Splinter Staff Writer, Texan